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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Near-infrared imaging of developmental defects in dental enamel
Author(s): Krista A. Hirasuna; Daniel Fried; Cynthia L. Darling
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Paper Abstract

Polarization-sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) and near-infrared (NIR) imaging are promising new technologies under development for monitoring early carious lesions. Fluorosis is a growing problem in the United States, and the more prevalent mild fluorosis can be visually mistaken for early enamel demineralization. Unfortunately, there is little quantitative information available regarding the differences in optical properties of sound enamel, enamel developmental defects, and caries. Thirty extracted human teeth with various degrees of suspected fluorosis were imaged using PS-OCT and NIR. An InGaAs camera and a NIR diode laser were used to measure the optical attenuation through transverse tooth sections (~200 μm). A digital microradiography system was used to quantify the enamel defect severity by measurement of the relative mineral loss for comparison with optical scattering measurements. Developmental defects were clearly visible in the polarization-resolved OCT images, demonstrating that PS-OCT can be used to nondestructively measure the depth and possible severity of the defects. Enamel defects on whole teeth that could be imaged with high contrast with visible light were transparent in the NIR. This study suggests that PS-OCT and NIR methods may potentially be used as tools to assess the severity and extent of enamel defects.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2008
PDF: 7 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 13(4) 044011 doi: 10.1117/1.2956374
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 13, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Krista A. Hirasuna, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)
Daniel Fried, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)
Cynthia L. Darling, Univ. of California/San Francisco (United States)


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